If you are responsible for work files that you need to secure, then you may have faced the challenge of always being afraid that an unauthorized person accesses them.
Especially when working from home, you often have files on your personal computer that you want to secure and you are not sure how to do so.
Surely you need to protect these files from viruses and malware first. But that is actually not enough. With your computer protected from harmful viruses, it still has files that someone may access even accidentally and get you in big trouble.
So, here are some easy and free ways that require no special programs to protect your work files on your Windows 10 PC.
Encryption is one of the ways you can use to protect your work files from being accessed by anyone but you. It doesn't need any software and it is easy to do.
When you encrypt a file in Windows 10, you will still have access to it and will be able to move and mail it. But all of this will be available only for you as the encryption key will be associated with your account.
So, if someone got access to your PC accidentally, they will not be able to access the encrypted files, because the account password is not entered and it is not logged in.
Once you log into your account, the files are decrypted just for you. This is a great layer of protection for your important files.
This method needs your Windows 10 version to be a pro version, so an upgrade may be needed. Also, you need your file storage system to be NTFS to be able to use this feature.
To encrypt any file or folder on a Windows 10 PC, you need to follow the following steps. Head to the file or folder, right-click and head to Properties then click the Advanced button.
Go to General tab then check the "Encrypt contents to secure data" checkbox there. Apply the settings or click Ok.
After doing this, the file or folder will be encrypted. You will see a green lock sign at the folder or file icon or you will see its name in green, depending on your Windows version.
One of the best methods to lock your work files and protect them on your PC is to put them into a ZIP or RAR folder and password-lock this folder.
To do so, you need ZIP or RAR installed on your PC. They will probably be already installed. If not, you can get free copies of them easily.
To password protect your files using ZIP, gather every file you want to protect in one folder first. Then right-click the folder and from the menu choose 7-zip then add to archive.
A menu with options will show. You can keep the settings as they are, except under the encryption tab you allow the encryption and type a password that protects this folder.
You can also choose the compression type to be just storing if you want to access the file quickly later. The folder will be created with co compression and will be extracted quickly.
After finishing, you need to click OK and the folder will be created and saved in the same destination. You can follow the same steps with RAR and encrypt your data using the RAR app instead of ZIP.
There is another easy trick you can use to protect your work files from being accessed randomly, or by any other person. The trick is to create a zip folder and change the extension.
To do this simple trick, put your files together in a folder. Right-click on it and create a new ZIP folder using the same steps mentioned above. After creating the ZIP folder, you need to change its name and extension.
To change the file extension, you need to edit its name. If you can't see the extension in the name ".zip", go to Control Panel then Folder Options and uncheck the "Hide extensions for known file types" option.
After seeing the extension or if you already see it, make it anything unknown ( ".dat" or ".gfx" for example). Also change the folder name to something that doesn't give away its content.
This is a very small trick to use and it doesn't need a specific version of Windows. When you want to access the files again, change the extention back and extract the files with ZIP. Now they are ready again to use.
Those are some of the simplest ways to protect work files if you are using a Windows 10 PC.
They don't need any technical knowledge or even past knowledge in Windows. They also don't require external software other than RAR or ZIP which are usually on every Windows computer.
Protecting work files with these simple methods can help you avoid many problems. Problems can happen if someone gets access to your files or your files getting stolen.
A secure cloud account can also help you keep a copy of your files in a safe place. But make sure that your synchronisation settings are properly set.
You also need to keep your Windows updated and an antivirus on your PC to avoid falling a victim for a ransomware or spyware.